DP lawmakers meet with IMO chief, deliver concerns over Fukushima release

Two lawmakers from South Korea's main opposition Democratic Party (DP) have paid a visit to the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and delivered concerns about Japan's release of radioactive water into the ocean.

Reps. Woo Won-shik and Yang Yiwonyoung said they relayed the concerns, along with a letter from DP leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung, during a meeting with IMO Secretary General Lim Ki-tack at the IMO headquarters in London on Saturday.

"We delivered the point that South Koreans are gravely concerned about the long-term implications of the discharge from Fukushima," Woo said. "We asked for their efforts to prevent the contaminated water discharge in accordance with the spirit of the London Convention and the London Protocol."

The two agreements, signed in 1972 and 1996, respectively, aim to promote controlling sources of marine pollution and take steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping waste and other matter. A meeting of parties to the two agreements is scheduled for next month.

The two lawmakers also told the IMO that allowing Japan to keep releasing the radioactive water from Fukushima could leave a bad precedent and urged the agency to consider other alternatives to ocean dumping.

In response, the agency said it agrees on the need for further discussions on the release from a broader perspective of protecting the ocean, but added it is up to the countries concerned to decide what direction they will take on the matter, the lawmakers said.

Last year, countries affected by the water discharge, including South Korea, failed to reach an agreement on whether the discharge should be considered an act of "ocean dumping," regulated under the London Protocol.

At the time, the IMO said its stance on the matter is "not certain."

Source: Yonhap News Agency